Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon would be disappointed if the
Edinburgh derby disappeared as a result of Hearts’ financial struggles.
Hearts have pleaded for “emergency backing” after being hit with a winding-up order over a tax bill of almost £450,000, suggesting the 17 November fixture with St Mirren could be the club’s last.
The Tynecastle club warned supporters of their grave predicament after confirming action by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Fenlon was reluctant to comment on the situation at Tynecastle, but hopes a repeat of the situation at Rangers can be avoided.
Fenlon said: “Derbies are the life blood of Edinburgh, Glasgow, everywhere else.
“There’s one missing in Glasgow; it will be disappointing if there was one missing here. But it’s nothing I can change or do anything about.”
Hearts have said they are attempting to negotiate a payment plan with the tax authorities over the matter, which is unrelated to a £1.75 million HMRC bill the club are challenging at a tax tribunal.
They also asked supporters to find the money to see the club through the crisis in an appeal described as “not so much a request as a necessity”.
Fenlon added: “I haven’t read too much into it. It’s not really my concern. It happens in football. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re prepared here and how we do things here. We manage that right and we try to prepare this team every week to play football matches.
“That’s my job. It’s not my job to worry about what goes on at another football club.”
Hearts and Hibs are next scheduled to meet in a repeat of the William Hill Scottish Cup final early next month after Monday’s draw.
The fourth-round tie on 2 December will be the first time the teams have met in the competition since Hearts’ 5-1 win in the final at Hampden in May.
Fenlon added: “The cup all the time throws up something special. We’re looking forward to it, that’s for certain. It’s a fantastic game, we’re at home, but there’s a lot of football to be played before then. It’s about maintaining our focus on making sure we pick up league points and when that comes around the Hearts game normally looks after itself.” Former Hearts defender Alan Maybury, now a player at Hibs, expects the match to take place, despite the troubles at Tynecastle.
Maybury made his Hibs debut in the 1-1 SPL draw with Hearts at Easter Road in August, seven years after leaving Hearts following a four-season spell which came to an end in January 2005.
The 34-year-old Irishman said: “I don’t know the ins and outs. It’s a long time since I played there. I don’t know too many of the players. It’s a difficult spell for them at the moment.
“It’s on the back of everything that’s gone on with Rangers. Football clubs are important for the community, for the fans. No-one likes to see anyone losing jobs and livelihoods.
“I’ll just see how it sorts itself out. These things tend to. They’ve had a couple of these before and (Vladimir Romanov, Hearts’ majority shareholder) found the money to sort it out.
“It’s not great that there’s these winding up orders being served against them, but in the past he’s found a way to sort things out.”
On the cup clash and Hibs’ run of form which sees them at the top end of the table, Maybury added: “The way it’s working out it’s probably a bigger game up here than it ever has been.”